- Non-cancerous Breast Conditions
- What is normal breast tissue and what does it do?
- Finding benign breast conditions
- American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection
- Diagnosing benign breast changes
- Imaging tests for breast disease
- Nipple discharge exam (nipple smear)
- Types of non-cancerous breast conditions
- Fibrosis and simple cysts
- Lobular carcinoma in situ
- Phyllodes tumors
- Intraductal papillomas
- Granular cell tumors
- Fat necrosis and oil cysts
- Duct ectasia
- Other benign breast conditions
- How benign breast conditions affect breast cancer risk
- For women at increased breast cancer risk
- Additional resources
American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection
By being alert to any breast changes and having exams and tests according to American Cancer Society guidelines for early detection, breast cancer can be found at the earliest possible stage, when it is most treatable. In addition, these exams and tests sometimes find certain benign breast conditions.
- Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
- Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast examination (CBE) by a health professional as part of a regular health exam, at least every 3 years. Starting at age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year.
- Breast self-examination (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.
- Women at high risk (greater than 20% lifetime risk) for breast cancer should get a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the breast and a mammogram every year. Women at moderately increased risk (15% to 20% lifetime risk) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram. Yearly MRI screening is not recommended for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.
For more detailed information on the American Cancer Society guidelines for early detection of breast cancer, please see our document, Breast Cancer: Early Detection.
Last Medical Review: 08/24/2012
Last Revised: 08/24/2012